Home > Slice of Life, Writing > Applying for a Master’s

Applying for a Master’s

December 25, 2012 Leave a comment Go to comments

Some time ago, someone put into my head the idea that I should try for a Master’s in international studies.

Precisely how this happened is unimportant and probably a mystery. It’s probably best left this way, given I cannot even quite remember when this happened. Logically, this happened sometime after I graduated with a Bachelor’s in December 2010, and sometime before now. One would think, anyways. Given how paradoxically my memory works, though, I wouldn’t be so sure. I genuinely think that my memory actually conspires with the time-space continuum to alter reality and ensure nothing I remember is actually when they logically seemed. If this theory holds water, then it wouldn’t be surprising if someone put the idea that I should try for a Master’s in international studies in a timeframe outside the time-space continuum, because it isn’t as if time-space can flip me a larger finger than “I chose not to exist during a pivotal event of your life”. (At some point in my head, I expect hear an old man inexplicably shout, “Ysi, you can’t do that, you’ll create a time paradox~”)

But, yes, someone put into my head the idea that I should try for a Master’s in international studies. Some time after this, my contract with the county government ended alongside October 2012, freeing me of obligations and allowing me to focus on an application process for a university located in a region of the world that speaks a language I’m not actually entirely fluent in.

Okay, so maybe it’s not as dire as it seems. I’m not entirely hopeless in the local language (how could I have worked for the county government as a translator otherwise?), and this was probably considerably better than when I was trying to apply for my first university, which was not only located on another continent, but located in a country that spoke four languages, none of which I could claim fluency in (two years of German will not allow you to study at a university level in Switzerland unless your university teaches in English, which it thankfully did). Due to the services I rendered, I also have a recommendation from the governor (who conveniently happens to be an alumnus of the university I’m applying to), which I’m hoping still counts for something, because it’s really hard to find a bright side in all of this.

So after reading a lengthy application process – again, in a language I’m not entirely fluent in – I start with what is probably the most difficult part of the entire process: Writing an educational autobiography and statement of purpose, along with rewriting my resume from scratch because the old one is outdated. This is where a few inconvenient facts attributed to that nefarious liar called “Reality” pays me a visit, and where I start panicking like an orchestra maestro who realizes his hair is not nearly messy enough. Because, if one thought about it hard enough and remembered things that the time-space continuum hadn’t decided to contradict retroactively yet, one might remember that I am currently applying for a Master’s in international studies. Whereas the Bachelor’s I earned in Switzerland was…

…in hospitality and tourism management.

You know how when two people realize something particularly inconvenient at the same time, they awkwardly exchange quiet sidelong glances? Well, it was four in the morning when I realized this, and my brother – the candidate usually available for such shenanigans – wasn’t immediately available. But it was one of those moments where you just had to have an awkward quiet sidelong glance exchange, so I got a mirror and awkwardly gave a quiet sidelong glance at my reflection, who awkwardly gave a quiet sidelong glance back. All was good.

I put the mirror down and continued to hyperventilate to the time-space continuum, because it’s the only one still awake and staying around, if only to point and laugh.

So now I’m saddled with a particularly difficult task: How am I supposed to convince the admissions office that a hospitality and tourism major would be a great applicant for an international studies course? I was a violinist in elementary and middle school, but no one in your adult life looking at your resume or educational autobiography particularly cares about anything you did before high school, and unless Beethoven Was An Alien Spy, I fail to see how mentioning my short-lived aspirations of becoming a violinist could help my case. So a focus on high school and some experience in extracurricular work related to politics would be good to mention…except I went to high school in mainland China, and when you are decidedly not a Chinese citizen (or, heck, if you are a Chinese citizen), getting involved in extracurricular political activities in China is probably not a good idea, especially since you can’t masquerade it as a school club, seeing how Chinese high schools don’t have school clubs or extracurricular activities.

But I can’t lose all hope. My resume lists all the major things I’ve done in my life; surely it has something particularly useful and actually closely related to international politics. I go down the list of all the occupations I’ve gone through in my life, and the list goes…

…translator, interpreter, archivist, typist, receptionist, guest services representative, and pastry cook.

… …

Tiredly, my gaze floats over to the lower-right corner of my computer screen. It’s past four in the morning. My statement of purpose remains a mess, my autobiography remains unfinished, and I need to submit the application within three days. Again, my mind mentally form ellipses that I’m certain will drop like pellets onto my head if I don’t sustain that thought for long enough.

You know what? Forget it. No matter how tired I get and how blurry my vision becomes, my resume won’t look any better than several hours ago. At this point, it’s probably more productive to go to bed and pretend I’ve never come upon this realization.

And, if possible, try to convince the time-space continuum into making some logical sense about how I was convinced to apply for a Master’s in international relations in the first place. That might help things, and seems a bit more hopeful than the other impossible task I’m leaving on my desktop.


Disclaimer: This was written some time ago because I was a little bored and in a bit of a tipsy mood, and is not an entirely accurate reflection of how I felt (although not an entirely inaccurate reflection of the dilemma that I was facing at the time). I had the situation fairly well in hand, and the application has been sent already, so although your sympathies will be greatly appreciated, please don’t worry too hard, I’m not really hyperventilating at the time-space continuum. Thanks.

Categories: Slice of Life, Writing
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